REVIEW: ‘Joker’ – A Disaster With Nil Entertainment Value

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Shirish Kunder’s story is juvenile and silly, to say the least. It is no better than a fairy tale read by kids. It takes the audience so much for granted and assumes them to be such imbeciles that it is not funny. The screenplay, penned by Shirish Kunder, Vikram Gupta and Ashmith Kunder, is ridiculous, irritating and as unbelievable as the story. Every single incident in the drama is so unbelievable and looks so fake that the film turns out to be a literal assault on common sense. The move of Agastya to resort to blatant lies to get Paglapur noticed does not win him any sympathy from the viewers. In fact, the audience actually begins to wonder what kind of a hero he is.

Besides, the contact with the actual aliens is established by chance, that too by Babban, further undermining the importance of Agastya who is supposed to be the hero of the drama. In that sense, Agastya’s heroism is restricted to speaking lies and doing fake things and making an ass of the media and the commandos.

The media persons are shown to be so retarded that their behavior is often no different from the behavior of the uneducated inhabitants of Paglapur. In his interactions with the ministers of the three states after the media spotlight on Paglapur has started, Agastya is shown to be so pomp­ous that he almost underlines the fact that there’s something fishy going on. Even otherwise, the people of Pagla­pur are so loud in their reactions, it is a wonder that only Simon is convin­ced of the fakeness of it all.

Frankly, even a dumb ass could guess that the entire story about the aliens is cooked up. The aliens dancing in the jungle with TV cameras shooting them and commandos training their guns on them looks idiotic, to say the least. Agastya, his father, Guruji and other villagers prompting the ‘aliens’ from behind the trees, about their next steps, is so childish that the viewer would be led to believe that the media persons were blind, their cameras had no lenses and the army men and their guns were toys!

Towards the end, Agastya is shown to suddenly comprehend all that Bab­ban speaks in the alien language and, therefore, all that the alien is trying to convey, in a jiffy. How does that hap­pen? There is no explanation for that – just as there are no answers to the tens of questions that crop up in the viewer’s mind. In fact, the screenplay is so full of gaping holes that the audience is forced to question it at every point but the writers have taken the audience so much for granted that they don’t even attempt to address the questions, leave alone answering them. Climax is supremely dull and as ridi­culous as the rest of the film.

Paglapur is shown to not have electricity but the media people are shown chatting on their mobile phones while they are there! This implies that Paglapur has no electricity but it has a mobile phone tower.

Coming to the basic ingredients in a commercial Hindi film, Joker lacks most of them too. The comedy is so weak that it is almost as if it is non-existent in the drama. Emotions simply fail to touch the heart. Romance is conspicuous by its absence. Drama is irritating. There are even continuity jerks. For instance, Agastya’s father is squint-eyed in almost every scene but there is a scene in which he does not appear squint at all!

All in all, the audience gets a feeling that it is watching a circus rather than a film – and not just because it is titled Joker!

Akshay Kumar does a fair job. Frankly, he doesn’t get much scope and it is a wonder that he chose to be associated with this film as actor and producer. Sonakshi Sinha, probably realizing that her scenes lack subs­tance, resorts to often making faces to pass that off as acting. Shreyas Talpade is earnest but the gibberish he indulges in stops being funny after a while. Minissha Lamba has hardly anything to do in a special appearan­ce. Vindu Dara Singh, Asrani, Dar­shan Jariwala, Sanjay Mishra, Azaan Shah (as Goti) and Pitobash Tripathi try hard to impress but barely succ­eed – and the script is to be blamed for this. Vrajesh Hirjee is good. Anjan Shrivastava leaves a mark. Avtar Gill and Swatantra Bharat are fair. Kan­chan Pagare, Premchand and Bikramjeet Kanwarpal are alright as the PAs of the ministers. Alexx O’Neil has his moments. Govardhan Randell barely passes muster as Lord Falkland. Gur­preet Guggi and Aarya Babbar have no worthwhile roles to talk about. Chit­rangda Singh looks sexy in the ‘Kafi­rana’ song. Farah Khan is seen in a tiny scene in a cameo appearance. Greg Heggernan (as CEO) and Cari­na (as the White House spokesperson) are okay. Others lend ordinary support.